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The Importance of Cloud Security: Just How Safe is Your Business in the Cloud?

According to one recent study, more than 50% of all data that is currently held in Australian cloud-based systems is considered to be sensitive. While this is not necessarily shocking, in a related statistic, the same study also revealed that roughly 90% of Australian executives said that they believed (or knew beyond the shadow of a doubt) that one or more people within their organisations were using cloud-based systems in violation of their existing approved policies.

One person. That's all it takes to open the door to cybersecurity leaks in your cloud-based environment that you might not be able to close again. With the average consolidated cost of a single data breach hitting $3.62 million globally in 2017 and new cybersecurity laws rolling out in Australia that can find you on the receiving end of massive compliance violations for even the smallest infractions, it's easy to see why cloud security is a topic that causes a great deal of stress for so many.

All of this segues directly into one of the most important topics of the modern era: the hidden costs that are commonly associated with unmanaged cloud systems that far too many people fail to think about until it's too late. Maybe the most important thing for you to understand about all of this is that cloud security is absolutely one of those situations where getting it done quickly is less important than getting it done properly. Because the potential downsides of getting it wrong are far more severe than a lot of people realise.

The Loss and Recovery of Data

One of the biggest issues that organisations often run into in terms of unmanaged cloud systems can be summed up in two simple words: data loss. Although only half of the information stored in your cloud environment is sensitive according to the aforementioned study, losing documents that aren’t sensitive in nature can be just as crippling to say.

According to Ponemon Institute's 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Study, the average cost of losing even a single record is a massive $225. Unmanaged cloud systems and employees who refuse to follow the rules aren't just more likely to cause data loss, they're also more likely to lead to inadequate or even non-existent data backups.  This means you can't even recover from these types of issues in the first place.

Data loss has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy — a problem that can get worse by feeding off of its own momentum.

The Importance of Compliance Requirements

Another one of the major hidden costs commonly associated with unmanaged cloud systems has to do with your ability (or lack thereof) to meet compliance requirements. 

Cybersecurity is an incredibly pressing issue and compliance requirements are changing all the time. In an unmanaged system, you'll spend so much time simply trying to keep up with this evolution that you'll have less and less time to actually focus on your business.

Once the inevitable happens and you do wind up in violation? Your problem only gets worse from there.

Even if you were only looking at Australia's new cybersecurity laws, a single violation and associated data breach could still cost you up to $1.8 million in fines. Executives alone could get hit with up to $360,000 in fines per incident.

The Situation with SSL Certificates

Another common factor that people just don't think about when it comes to unmanaged cloud environments comes down to SSL certificates. All of your assets in the cloud will require SSL certificates to protect the data contained inside while in transit. This includes personal information, data about business transactions, financial records, and more. 

Without an efficient way to manage these SSL certificates (the volumes of which are exploding, by the way), you'll never be able to safeguard cloud transactions with the type of SSL encryption they need in the modern era. According to another study, only about 27% of all organisations in Australia say that managing these certificates is easy. Attempting to do it on your own isn't just difficult — it's largely impossible.

The Problem with Storage Management

Another common issue that many organisations run into boils down to storage management — something that is very difficult to do on your own. Most SMEs love the fact that they're only paying for what they use in the cloud, but this situation gets a bit muddy when you're talking about an unmanaged environment.

Consider the fact that the average cloud storage utilisation is just 17% on average. SMBs in particular only utilise about 7% — a number that is shocking to say the least. This is an issue because in an unmanaged environment, most organisations don't have the ability to perform tasks like deduplication that would allow them to actually use the resources they're paying for. This leads to them spending money they don't need to, a problem the cloud was supposed to avoid in the first place. 

The Trouble with Time

Finally, you arrive at perhaps the biggest single cost of an unmanaged cloud environment: time. Consider how complicated and lengthy all of the above processes seem, then consider the fact that they are now all the responsibility of you and you alone. You may feel like unmanaged cloud services allow you to maintain control over every last element of your infrastructure, but when you consider how much time you need to invest to manage that infrastructure properly, you're suddenly eliminating many of the benefits you were supposed to be getting in the first place.

You're spending so time managing the cloud that you can't do the most important task of all — managing the actual business you're running.

Why Managed IT Services Matter

At Powernet, we believe that these hidden costs help to reveal a pretty startling picture about the current state of unmanaged cloud environments. IT should be more than just a collection of individual assets. Those assets should come together to form something much more powerful than any one of them is on their own. Yet when you choose to forgo the assistance of a managed services provider or other trusted partner, you're essentially making this goal impossible before you've even had a chance to attempt it.

This is why managed IT services are so critical. Disaster recovery planning, compliance and regulations management, SSL certificates — all of these concerns are a thing of the past. Suddenly, your environment is the cornerstone of your IT strategy — the way it was always meant to be — and you can get back to running your business at the exact same time.

If you'd like to find out more information about cloud security or the hidden costs of an unmanaged cloud environment, or if you'd just like to sit down and talk to someone in a little more detail about why a managed IT services provider might be right for you, get in touch with Powernet today.

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